Nicole Zdeb

Guerlain: L’Heure Bleue

A sanguine progression. I’ll drive
to the center and fall asunder.
From here, a corner. A crystal
slipper.  Lost. Lost near the beginning, the
begging, near the fear of tracking
its own sootprint in the blue dusk.

The surface is flat, smooth.  Touch
it. Go ahead, get your thumbs in it.
Depth is a visceral illusion.
Smooth and snarling.

Take a break. Take ten. Ten wrens
in a pared tree.  Wren built the house
where Jack lived and Itsy Bitsy winters
in Summerville.  A winter Texan
in a Texas too small for the imagination.

I homewrecked and landed on the shores
of Atlantis where women with blue hours
augur, they offer me a street
caped in billowing shadow, the sun
moved on and the stars yet unlit.

I see a figure touching her face, walking
down the street, looking
into windows.

Time suspends, then multiplies.
I watch this woman say my name;
it is ugly in her mouth, like “trench.”




The Engineer Who Couldn’t Buy a Second Beer

Roof witness to ravenous
scrapings, and the wind
caught the disparity and
blew my clothes
off. Then the flight back, choppy
drafts that wreaked
havoc on my ability to think of effects.

There, a room with a low bed,
paint fresh, linen white, and a hawkish
delight in scaring the field mice,
wee bits nibbling on nails in the moonish
dark, waiting for the holy star.

A letter from a dead friend came in the mail, her death preceding its arrival by two days. A drunk driver, pressure on the brain, braindead by midnight, now organs in other bodies and a letter, like a hand rising from a casket, opening in a huge darkness.

When I was a ways apart, a walk. A walk and a man who yelled: What’s wrong? Nothing? Then stop your crying or call me a son-of-a-bitch. Call me a son-of-a-bitch!

We sang a song of
gay Paree, this son
of a bitch and me,
in a species of
harmony. Oh gay
Paree, gay
Paree, you are
one bumble
of a bee